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Maple Sweetness Bites (raw, vegan, gluten-free)

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Truthfully, my goal with this recipe was to create Maple Leaf Candies.  They typically are commercially made by heating maple sap past the syrup stage.  The sweetness just intensifies as it concentrates.  At the crystalline stage, it is whipped then poured into a mold to become maple candy.

Sounds easy but not very healthy.  That is where I stepped in and decided to healthify them.  I will be very honest, I didn’t think the WHOLE process through.  I just got to darn excited for my own good.  This is typical for me.

I whipped up a batter, piped it into leaf molds and threw them in the freezer.  Even at this point the logical side of my brain didn’t kick in.  Eight hours later, still soft, placed them back into the freezer and shut the door.  Again, the logical side of my brain didn’t even let off a spark.  I left them in the freezer overnight.  Come morning, I slid (love socks on wooden floors) into the kitchen, made a screeching sound (like a little boy playing with Match Box cars) and whipped the freezer door open.  I grabbed the mold and touched the candies.  Soft.  THEN, and only then did my brain have one of those, “AH HA!” moments.  Dates my dear friends don’t EVER freeze solid.  I knew this!!!!   Oy-Vey!  It was a sad moment because they sure looked beautiful!

Before I could smack myself silly for my lack of “thinking”, I got my itty bitty spoon out (it makes me smile because it is so cute) and scooped out the batter.  During that process my brain was already conjuring up a new way to try making these.  I jotted down my idea and moved forward with the batter. That my friends, is how I came up with Maple Sweetness Bites.  Now, I certainly could have omitted this complete story and have you believe that this treat came out exactly as intended.  BUT I wanted to share with you… don’t get caught up in expectations, learn to go with the flow and allow your creative side to shine.  Great things are discovered in moments such as these.


Yields 38 candiesMaple-Sweetness-Bites111

  • 3 cups packed Mejool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tsp maple flavoring
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 38 raw pecans for topping


  1. Have dehydrator trays ready, fitted with the teflex sheet.  Set aside.
  2. Remove the pits from the dates as you put them in the measuring cup.
    • Tip: Be sure to inspect each date as you tear it in half to remove the pit.  Mold and insect eggs can infect dried dates.  I don’t mean to gross you out,  you just need to be made aware of this.
  3. Place the dates in the food processor fitted with the “S” blade.  Process until the dates turn into a creamy paste.  This will take some patience and you will need to stop the machine every once in a while to scrape the sides down and redistribute the dates around the container.
  4. Once the paste is formed, add the maple flavoring and sea salt.  Using a rubber spatula,  place the paste in a sturdy piping bag fitted with the desired tip.
  5. When piping out the batter, keep the bag in an upright position.  Keep a constant pressure on the piping bag as you squeeze out the paste and keep the tip in the center of candy that you are forming.  Stop every once in a while and squeeze the batter down the bag and give it a few twists.   This will eliminate air bubbles in the bag and give you a solid grip.
  6. Gentle push a whole pecan into the center of the candy. Omit for nut-free version.
  7. Place the tray in the dehydrator and dry at 115 degrees for 8 hours (+/-).
  8. Store in an airtight container, single layered with wax paper in between layers.

Sous Chef Substitute Ideas:  

  • Pecans ~ don’t use if you are needing a nut-free dessert.
  • Dates ~ I don’t recommend replacing.  They offer the perfect flavoring and texture for this treat.
  • Maple flavoring ~ use maple syrup in its place.  Try 1 Tbsp to start off with and adjust from there.
  • Sea salt ~ optional, but salt brightens the flavors in sweet recipes.

The Institute of Culinary Ingredients:

  • What is Himalayan pink salt and does it really matter?  Click (here) to read more about it.
  • Dates are an amazing ingredient for raw food recipes,  click (here) to read why.

2 thoughts on “Maple Sweetness Bites (raw, vegan, gluten-free)

  1. myrna says:

    Mold? How can you tell if your dates have mold?

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Myrna,

      Well there is the first obvious sign… fur on the skins (but honestly I haven’t experienced that) but when you pry a date apart to remove the pit you should always inspect the inside. Every once and while I will get one that has a black like powder inside of it… form of mold, or you might see little eggs…sorry don’t mean to gross you out. Toss’m if you do. Dates can get a sugar crystal like look to them from time to time, but that is fine. I see this more in the dates that have more moisture. I hope this helps. amie sue

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